Advocating for You

March 25, 2021

Advocating for You

Since the COVID-19 crisis led to our country’s shutdown and the passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) on March 18, 2020, FNP has advocated for 100% relief of all COVID-19 related unemployment claims on behalf of reimbursable nonprofit, governmental and tribal employers across the country.

Remarkably, this pandemic resulted in the filing of more than 60 million claims across the country! To counteract the administrative crush of massive claim filings and ensure that qualified claimants could quickly apply and collect unemployment benefits, federal and state laws were swiftly modified. While these timely changes brought necessary relief to some individuals, it left many reimbursable employers with unprecedented, and unforeseen levels of unemployment benefit charges.

Subsequently, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, was signed into law on March 27, 2020 adding additional assistance for states, employers, and individuals. Helpfully, a feature of this economic stimulus provided 50% relief of COVID-19 related unemployment claims for reimbursable nonprofit employers BUT had problematic guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor, by requiring nonprofits to fully reimburse states upfront for this overwhelming cost.

First Nonprofit responded immediately and began a grassroots lobbying effort engaging our members and partners to express concern regarding the burdensome and unintended harsh treatment of reimbursing nonprofit, governmental and tribal employers. We led the way to mobilize others in field and organizations serving nonprofits at the state and national level to create the Nonprofit Unemployment Insurance Relief Coalition (NUIRC) as an advocate for more equitable and consistent treatment of reimbursing employers, specifically asking for 100% relief of pandemic related charges and correction of the guidelines issued by the USDOL requiring full reimbursement of claims that were subject to 50% relief in the CARES Act. NUIRC, with participants that include many of our state association and national partners, engaged lobbyists and recruited other supporters to encourage Congress and individual state legislatures to consider a more just treatment of reimbursing nonprofit, governmental and tribal employers. Several members of FNP programs and members of our Advisory Board participated in delivering this message to both Congress and elected officials in their own states.

The unified effort had far reaching effects on behalf of reimbursable nonprofit, governmental and tribal employers across the country. With the hard work and support of many including NUIRC and the National Council of Nonprofits (NCN), Congress passed the “Protecting Nonprofits from Catastrophic Cash Flow Strain Act” in July of 2020, providing cash flow assistance to reimbursable employers across the country and correcting the language that required state unemployment agencies to invoice reimbursing employers at 100% before receiving the 50% Federal relief payment. And subsequent extensions of the 50% relief and other relief measures in the CARES Act were passed. But it was not until 2021 that these advocacy efforts resulted in Congress increasing the amount of Federal relief for reimbursing employers.

The “American Rescue Plan Act”, signed into law on March 11, 2021, continues to provide 50% benefit charge relief through March 31, 2021 and then increases benefit charge relief from 50% to 75% from April 1 through September 6, 2021. It also extends other Federal relief for reimbursing employers that has been in place. More specific detail on the ARP Act can be found here.

Be assured that First Nonprofit continues to work to closely with our nationwide network of claims administration partners to ensure that our customers are:

  1. Receiving the appropriate relief on COVID-19 related unemployment charges
  2. Being credited for any benefit charges that should have been relieved
  3. NOT being billed for any fraudulent claims

We will also continue to advocate via NUIRC to encourage states to provide the additional relief needed to cover 100% of charges attributable to the pandemic from funds allocated to them for discretionary use by the ARP Act.

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In addition to their money-saving purpose on behalf of nonprofit organizations like AHS, First Nonprofit’s Nonprofit Unemployment Fund streamlines the information we need to efficiently manage unemployment claims. Our relationship with NU Fund gave us access to such things as advice on planning for what’s ahead and how to analyze cost scenarios when unexpected events occurred. Both experiences were very helpful.

Asian Health Services, Oakland, CA

The Ensight Skills Center has enjoyed working with First Nonprofit for several years. We are enrolled in their Unemployment Savings Program and although we have not required a lot of intervention, there have been a few times. I know others have dealt with the same problem of unemployment fraud over the last year and in our case, a call to First Nonprofit (they actually answer their phones) cleared up the issue. They also sent us a letter to send to all our employees telling them what they needed to do to prevent this in the future and protect themselves. What a relief! Over the years if I have questions or concerns, they are happy to listen, advise and help if they can. Another BIG advantage of using First Nonprofit is that all the money that is paid into the Unemployment Savings Program lives on my balance sheet as an asset. The money continues to be Ensight’s not the governments. First Nonprofit has certainly given me peace of mind.

Ensight Skills Center, Inc, Fort Collins, CO

Visually Impaired Preschool Services has been a client of First Non-Profit since it was first offered as a benefit of VisionServe Alliance. We completed a thorough evaluation of cash savings to our agency before taking advantage of this wonderful benefit and it has been a very wise decision. Our experience with the processes from accounting to claims have been professional, expeditious and easy.

Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY

NYCON members who use First Nonprofit’s programs enjoy enduring savings and improved efficiency. Our association knows that success, because from the beginning, we achieved the same great benefits. Great savings, seamless technology, and responsive service. NYCON highly recommends First Nonprofit’s remarkable unemployment solutions.

New York Council of Nonprofits, Albany, NY

It has been our sincere pleasure to maintain a strong, vibrant business partnership with First Nonprofit. We greatly admire their strong industry knowledge, technical expertise, constant professionalism, knowledgeable and dedicated staff. They are always extremely responsive, personable and provide us with the necessary guidance and recommendations on a numerous variety of employment scenarios. We

Thresholds, Chicago, IL

Because INCS advocates for the operating conditions that allow charter public schools to provide high quality public education, partnering with First Nonprofit was an easy decision. First Nonprofit’s unemployment programs provide our member schools two operating elements crucial to their ability to provide high quality public education: savings and budget certainty. Capable, committed teachers are the key to student success. By participating in the unemployment insurance savings plan, charter public schools gain peace of mind and are able to invest more money in their teachers.

Illinois Network of Charter Schools, Chicago, IL

Throughout our membership in the Unemployment Savings Program, First Nonprofit understood our demands, community dynamics, and the importance of seamless services; that allowed us to serve our constituents better.

Prevent Blindness America, Chicago, IL